XAT 2013: General Guidelines & Essay Writing Tips

XLRI Jamshedpur has about 240 seats in its flagship BM (Business Management) and PMIR (Personnel Management and Industrial Relations) programmes and 120 seats in its flagship 15 months full-time residential GMP (General Management Program). The PMIR program has been renamed HRM (Human Resource Management). Apart from XLRI, 60 other institutes accept XAT scores for selection of candidates to their respective programmes. About 1,03,427 students appeared for the XAT exam in 2010. Candidates were surprised to note differential marking (1 marks to 5 marks) in XAT 2011 (Maximum Marks:252). The paper was very difficult compared to all other Management Entrance Exams. XAT 2012, held on 8th January 2012 had fewer questions in all three sections (Decision Making:25, Quantitative Ability:32 and Verbal Ability:28). XAT 2012 (Maximum Marks:100) also had differential marking with questions allotted marks either 1, 1.5 or 2. There was an essay question consisting of two statements on poverty, where the candidate was supposed to support one of them, giving justification and examples. The result of XAT comes in last week of January.

XAT is a tough paper & one should keep ones nerves calm while attempting it. The XAT usually is the last in the long list of entrance exams students write each year; so most students end up taking it lightly by not revising their notes. The XAT is not a speed based test anymore. Over the years, there has been a trend of a decrease in the number of questions and an increase in the duration of the test; hence it is important to maintain high levels of accuracy.

The Xavier’s Aptitude Test 2013:

XAT 2013 was a three hour long exam. It was divided into an initial section of two hours and twenty minutes, consisting of multiple-choice questions that tested Quantitative Ability (Mathematics), Verbal Ability (English) and Data Interpretation/Logical Reasoning skills and a final section of 40 minutes which contained General Awaremess questions and an Essay question.?The XAT is quite similar to the CAT?conducted by the IIMs, except that the CAT has no Essay and General Awareness sections.?Questions in General Awareness will be from Business, Economics and Politics related to Business Environment. Candidates have to attempt both essay as well as General Awareness.

XAT Essay Writing:

Previous XAT Essay Topics

  • 2013: Corruption
  • 2012: Provided a choice between two essay topics viz. “Poverty is a big menace in India. Due to its complexity and magnitude, most of the government initiatives fail.” or “Poverty is a consequence of failure of the government policies due to the fact that the governments do not target root causes.”?
  • 2011: “The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with most unnecessary attention but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of man who has folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”
  • 2010: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man?s need but not every man?s greed.”
  • 2009: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of riches; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
  • 2008: “The consequence of gender imbalance ? The Third World War”
  • 2007: “Economic growth without environmental damage ? mirage or reality”
  • 2006: “India has one of the largest pool of talented manpower, but few innovations and patented products.”
  • 2005: “More than one billion Indians: A gigantic problem or a sea of opportunities.”
  • 2004: “Asked at the age of 83, as to which of his project would he choose as his?master piece, Frank Lloyd wright, the architect answered, “The next one”.”
  • 2003: “To give real service, one needs to add something that cannot be bought or?measured, like sincerity and integrity.”
  • 2002:?”Indian Economy in the Post WTO Era.”
  • 2001: “Economic Growth without Distributive Justice can only lead to violence.”
  • 2000: “Ships are safe in the harbour but that’s not what they are meant for.”

Essay Writing Pointers:

  • Traditionally, the time given for essay writing was 20 minutes. However, the 2013 bulletin specifies the total duration for the second section of the exam (Part B) as 40 mins. This section contains both Essay Writing and General Awareness. Hence, the duration for writing the essay – if not specified during the examination – should vary anywhere between a minimum of 10 mins to a maximum of 20 mins. Consequently, the lesser the time taken to write the essay, the more the time to attempt questions on General Awareness. However, I believe it’s better to invest time on essay writing than frittering it away on guessing general awareness questions the answers to which you’re completely oblivious to.
  • As explained in my lectures, communication must have structure. Hence, your essay must have a lucid and logical structure to facilitate the proper build up to and presentation of your thesis. The Essay Structure discussed in class is flexible enough to suit any kind of topic. Use it!
  • Although there have been a couple or more creative topics in the past, the majority revolve around the basic principles of economics, albeit indirectly. The XAT repeatedly tests students’ understanding of the basic principles of micro and macro economics through its essays. Hence, I recommend my readers to have a ‘beyond average’ understanding of ‘economic principles’ and ‘history of economics’. A good book to read is “Economics” by Samuelson & Nordhaus. The concepts that you could start with are: Money, Money Creation, Central & Commercial Banking, Taxation, Trade, Trade Barriers, GDP, GNP, Inflation, Interest Rates, Feudalism, Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Open Market Economies, Socialist Market Economies/State Capitalists, Incorporation, Privatisation, Municipalization, etc.?
  • It is one thing to know a concept; it is another to buttress it with real world examples, both historical and contemporary. This is where general awareness comes handy. However, be sure to logically evaluate whether an example/statistic actually fortifies your argument. You don’t want to commit any of the logical fallacies discussed in class.
  • Be sure to read the topic carefully and to understand what it means, before beginning to write your essay. You don’t want to catch the wrong bus. The XAT is infamous for abstruse topics. For e.g. ?the XAT 2011: to most, the topic seemed abstract; however, on closer scrutiny you’ll realize it’s nothing more than a debate on the economic excesses of dictatorship (or other similar systems) Vs those of capitalism.
  • Practice is imperative! It is not easy to write an essay in 20 minutes, let alone 10 minutes. To be able to accomplish this means to have practiced writing to the extent that you minimize the time between ideation and articulation down to zero. It is difficult, but not impossible. A simple practice technique is to keep your supporting arguments down to a maximum of 3 and a minimum of 2. There is no room for purple patches; i.e. avoid fustian/pompous language. Get to the point as soon as possible, construct your P.R.E.P., and move to the next. Good reading habits will ensure an abundance of ice breakers; but if you can’t think of one, don’t waste time. Get on with the essay!
  • It is always good to spare a couple of minutes to revise and proof read what you’ve written.

All the Best!

(p.s. To have your essays evaluated, send them to


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